The Ellenwood clan: Kari (left to right), Stuart, Georgia, Dean and Dave Ellenwood. All five members of the family have competed at the BC Summer Games, beginning with Dave in 1978 and finishing up with Dean in 2012. Stuart will be helping coach the zone 3 Fraser Valley sprints team at next week’s BC Summer Games in Abbotsford.

BC Summer Games a family affair for Langley’s Ellenwood clan

Parents, all three kids have participated in the Games, combining for nine gold and one silver medal

If any family is intricately familiar with the BC Summer Games, it is surely the Ellenwood clan.

How many other families can boast that all five members — including parents — were participants of the Games at one point or another?

But that claim holds true for Langley’s Ellenwood family.

Parents Dave and Kari attended in water polo and soccer at the 1978 and 1983 Games, respectively.

The 1978 Games were in fact, the first year they were held.

And that was followed up with the couple’s three children all attending in track and field.

Stuart, the eldest, participated at the 2008 Games in Kelowna, middle child Georgia competed at the 2010 Games here in Langley, and Dean completed the family feat by running at the 2012 Games in Surrey.

The five combined to win nine gold medals and one silver with the kids winning the gold medals while mom helped her team take the silver medal.

“It was a great experience,” recalled Dave, the 53-year-old family patriarch.

His memory of the actual competition was unfortunately coming out on the losing end of a big score.

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a positive overall experience.

“It seemed like a rite of passage; you go to a big event like this and it sticks with you for a long time,” he said.

“It was a great experience, very social,” said Kari Ellenwood.

Dave Ellenwood also remembers seeing then-Premier Bill Bennett — who was instrumental in establishing the B.C. Summer and B.C. Winter Games — poolside during the 1978 Games.

Years later, the BC Games Society created the W.R. Bennett Award, given to a top performer at that particular Games.

And at the 2010 Summer Games held in the Township of Langley, Ellenwood’s daughter Georgia won the award.

The Games have left a lasting impact on the entire family.

Stuart, who is now 23, and competed collegiately with Simon Fraser University in the 400m and 800m events, will be an assistant coach with the Fraser Valley zone 3 team at next week’s BC Summer Games in Abbotsford.

“The people who coached me at the Games and outside of the Games made such a big difference in my life and really made we want to continue in the sport,” he explained.

“I wanted to make that difference for some of these kids, make sure they stay with it.”

Some of the fellow athletes he met at the competition remained life-long friends.

“The people that we roomed with and hung out with during the entire Games were people I continued to go around with for the rest of high school track,” Stuart said, adding that the Games experience helped foster a real sense of community among the athletes.

“It is kind of the meeting point of these peopled you are forever going to be competing against.

“You can talk to them about the sport.”

Georgia Ellenwood, who turns 21 next month, continued her success from the 2010 Games, becoming one of the most decorated high school track and field athletes and earning a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin. She has two years of eligibility remaining and has represented Canada at numerous international competitions.

“The athletes seem so young now, but that was me,” she said.

“What I remember is it was the first time I had to focus on track but also being in a really fun social situation. I am in those kinds of situations all the time now, but that was the first.”

Dean, who is 18, snagged gold in the 800m and 4×400 relay events while finishing seventh in the 300m back in 2012.

“It was my first big team that I made.

“It was a great experience altogether and made me want to make teams in the future and keep pursuing track,” he said.

He is off to the University of Idaho on a track scholarship in the fall.

And the parents have relished watching their children excel, not only at the Summer Games, but in other endeavors as well.

“(The organizers) put on a great show,” Dave Ellenwood said.

“Just as parents, you realize how big this experience is for the kids and how special it is.”

 

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